World Rugby has announced a revamp of its Sevens World Series for both the men and women’s teams, according to the governing body.
The men’s series has been reduced from 16 to 12 teams, while the women’s series will have an equal number of teams.
Teams in both genders will also receive equal participation fees, with a 70% increase in the governing body’s investment.
The series will now feature seven festival-style events in seven destinations across seven months beginning in December 2023.
An annual grand final event will be staged in the seventh round of the series, which will see the top eight ranked teams after six rounds compete to become series champions.
The teams ranked 9-12 will join the top four teams from the Challenger Series in a play-off competition. Only four teams will qualify for the next edition of the Seven World Series.
The four unsuccessful teams from the playoff will compete in regional tournaments to qualify for the next Challenger Series, which will feature 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams in the second tier of international rugby sevens.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “The re-imagined Sevens World Series will be a game-changer for the global growth of the game.
“Research insights have demonstrated that sevens plays a vital role in reaching and engaging new rugby fans, particularly in emerging rugby nations and with younger audiences.
“Moving to full gender parity between the men’s and women’s Series reflects not just our commitment to accelerating the women’s game, but also recognition of the powerful personalities who are inspiring a new generation of fans across the globe.”
World Rugby’s new events arm, World Rugby EventsCo, will adopt greater responsibility for events alongside host organizations in a bid to attract a younger and more diverse global fan base and generate more revenues.
The revamp of the series comes after a widespread consultation process involving representatives from participating teams, existing tournament hosts, player welfare representatives and fans.